Plains Heat Up, Kashmir Emerging Ideal Exit Airport Data Suggest


by Syed Batool Andrabi

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SRINAGAR: The rising temperature in the plains is hugely contributing to the surged tourist arrivals in Srinagar. Though most of the visitors take the land routes, the airport data suggests a record increase in traffic.

Tourists pose in traditional Kashmiri dress at the world-famous Dal Lake in Srinagar on Sunday 28 February 2021.KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

According to the India Meteorological Department, Delhi recorded a temperature of 41.7 degrees Celsius, over a notch above the season’s normal. All other major cities across India are too hot to be normal. The weather department issued a “yellow” alert for Saturday as it predicted the mercury to reach a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius and a minimum of 31 degrees Celsius in Delhi.

This encourages sections within the middle class to head towards the mountains and Kashmir is emerging as a major choice.

The number of people flying into Kashmir is high compared to 2023. Statistics accessed by this reporter suggest that 148115 people landed in Srinagar through 843 flights in the first 24 days of May 2023. The number surged to 185858 in 1042 flights in the same period in 2024.

The Srinagar Airport Authority has seen a rise in flight arrivals in May compared to the previous months. On May 1, 45 flights landed, followed by 46 on the second and third day. On May 4, the numbers jumped to 48 flights, marking a busy day. However, on the fifth recorded the lowest number of flights for the month at 29.

Moving into the second week, May 6, saw 47 flights landing in Srinagar, maintaining a steady flow. May 7, mirrored this number with 46 flights. There was no record of flights on Twitter for the 8th, indicating a possible lull in activity.

As the month progressed, May 18, stood out with the highest number of flights in May at 52, showcasing a peak in air traffic. Contrastingly, May 19, saw a significant drop to 30 flights, highlighting a sudden decrease in arrivals.

Towards the end of the month, May 24, recorded 47 flights, maintaining a consistent pattern seen throughout May. The data reveals a mix of busy days and quieter periods at Srinagar Airport, reflecting the dynamic nature of air travel.

This Srinagar rush has surged the ticket costs too. The average flight cost for a Delhi to Srinagar trip currently ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 13,000. Despite this being above the normal rate for most people, many are still opting for these flights to escape the heat wave.

Though this marks the beginning of peak tourist season in Kashmir, insiders in the hospital sector suggest the soaring mercury is a key factor.

Interestingly, Kashmir itself is experiencing an abnormal heat wave. The Meteorological Department warned Jammu and Kashmir’s citizens, particularly the most vulnerable, to stay hydrated and protect themselves from the heat on Friday.

Over the next five days, the heat wave will continue, affecting Jammu and Kashmir’s hills and plains regions equally. Precautionary steps are needed, especially for the elderly, newborns, and youngsters, according to MeT.


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